Jo Nattawut applauds ONE Championship for Muay Thai’s growing popularity in U.S.

By BJPENN.COM Staff - May 17, 2024

“Smokin’” Jo Nattawut has every reason to be excited when he returns to U.S. primetime on June 7.

Jo Nattawut

The Thai striker rematches Tawanchai PK Saenchai for the ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Title at ONE 167 on Prime Video. This premium live event takes place at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

Muay Thai is experiencing significant growth in the United States, and the majority of it is attributed to the efforts made by ONE Championship.

“Everybody who is watching the [striking] fights in ONE, they love it,” Nattawut said.

“It keeps growing every single month. Obviously, because of ONE Championship, it’s making it bigger. Everybody watches it, and then they train Muay Thai even more.”

In 2018, ONE made a bold move to expand its offerings beyond MMA, particularly into Muay Thai and kickboxing.

Six years later, the promotion has become the premier destination for elite strikers.

Its roster consists of the who’s who in the striking world. This list includes the likes of Rodtang Jitmuangnon, Superlek Kitamoo9, Jonathan Haggerty, Chingiz Allazov, Superbon Singha Mawynn, and Takeru Segawa.

Nattawut believes that Muay Thai and other stand-up disciplines are finally getting the recognition they deserve on the world stage.

“Thinking about Muay Thai, overall, in the next 10 years, it can be as big as [MMA] or even bigger because it’s so exciting and people love watching it,” he said.

“I think if ONE keeps going like this for the next five to 10 years, we can reach the highest level.”

Now based in Atlanta, Georgia, he understands the importance of grassroots efforts in spreading the popularity of Muay Thai.

In fact, Nattawut wants to do his part in nurturing the sport, starting with his adopted hometown.

“Atlanta is home. I live here. I have all my friends, my work, everything is here. This is home for me, so it’s easier for me to open a gym here,” he said.

“You have to build a good foundation, right? The whole system. If I own the gym, I already have an idea to create a full system. Everybody follows the system and the way we teach authentic Muay Thai.”

Jo Nattawut hopes to be part of ONE 170 in Atlanta

The world’s largest martial arts organization is set to make a grand return to U.S. soil later this year with two blockbuster events. This includes one card in Atlanta.

ONE 170 is scheduled to take place at the State Farm Arena on November 8, and Nattawut has his eyes set on being a part of this historic show.

“It would be fun to compete at the Atlanta event,” he said. “It’s really for my friends here, too. They would get to watch me live at least one time. I’ve lived here for 10 years, but never had a chance to fight at home.”

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


ONE Championship